Maltese Vs. Shih Tzus: Which Breed Is the Best Fit for Your Lifestyle?

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Have you ever wondered which breed between Maltese and Shih Tzus would suit your lifestyle best?

While both breeds have their unique characteristics, it's essential to consider your daily routine and preferences before making a decision.

The choice between these two adorable companions can significantly impact your daily life, from exercise routines to grooming commitments.

Understanding the differences in temperament and care needs can help you determine which furry friend would be the ideal match for your lifestyle.

Maltese Breed Overview

detailed maltese dog information

Interested in learning more about the Maltese breed? The Maltese is a small breed known for its luxurious white coat and playful demeanor. They're a gentle and affectionate dog, making them excellent companions for families, singles, and seniors alike. Maltese dogs are intelligent and responsive, which can make training relatively easy compared to other breeds.

In terms of size, Maltese dogs typically weigh between 4 to 7 pounds and stand around 8 to 10 inches tall. Their small size makes them well-suited for apartment living or homes with limited space. Despite their size, Maltese dogs are known for their bold and fearless personalities. They're curious by nature and enjoy exploring their surroundings.

Grooming is an essential aspect of Maltese care due to their long, flowing white coat. Regular brushing and grooming are necessary to prevent matting and tangling. Some owners opt to keep their Maltese in a shorter 'puppy cut' for easier maintenance. Additionally, Maltese dogs are considered hypoallergenic, making them a great choice for individuals with allergies.

Shih Tzu Breed Overview

Moving from the Maltese breed, the Shih Tzu is a charming small dog breed known for its distinctive long, flowing coat and friendly temperament. Originating from Tibet, Shih Tzus were bred to be companion animals, and their affectionate nature reflects this purpose. With a weight range of 9 to 16 pounds and a height of about 9 to 10.5 inches, they're sturdily built for their size.

The Shih Tzu's coat is a hallmark feature, requiring regular grooming to prevent matting and tangles. Their coat comes in various colors, including gold, white, black, and combinations of these. Despite their luxurious appearance, Shih Tzus are surprisingly sturdy and playful, making them great indoor pets.

This breed is known for its friendly and outgoing personality. Shih Tzus typically get along well with children and other pets, making them a good choice for families. They're also known for their loyalty and love to be around their human companions. While they enjoy playtime, they're equally content to snuggle on the couch with you.

Temperament and Personality Traits

summarizing personality and behavior

Shih Tzus exhibit a charming and affectionate demeanor that makes them ideal companions for families seeking a playful yet loyal pet. Known for their outgoing and friendly nature, Shih Tzus are affectionate towards their owners and enjoy being the center of attention. They thrive on human companionship and are often described as being great with children, making them a popular choice for families. This breed is generally adaptable and can adjust well to different living environments, whether in an apartment or a larger home.

In terms of temperament, Shih Tzus are known for their lively and playful personalities. They've a mischievous streak that adds to their endearing charm but can sometimes lead to stubborn behavior. While they're generally good-natured, early socialization and training are essential to ensure they develop into well-rounded pets. Shih Tzus are also known for their loyalty towards their owners and can form strong bonds with family members.

Additionally, Shih Tzus are often described as alert watchdogs despite their small size. They've a keen sense of hearing and will bark to alert their owners of any potential threats or visitors. While they may not be the best guard dogs due to their size, their protective instincts and vocal nature make them excellent companions for those looking for a small yet vigilant pet.

Exercise and Grooming Needs

When considering the exercise and grooming needs of a dog breed, it's crucial to understand the specific requirements to ensure their well-being and maintenance. Both the Maltese and Shih Tzu breeds have unique demands in these areas.

Maltese dogs are relatively low-energy and don't require extensive exercise. Daily short walks and some playtime indoors can usually suffice. However, mental stimulation is important for this intelligent breed. Engaging in interactive games or training sessions can help keep them happy and healthy.

On the grooming front, Maltese dogs have a long, flowing white coat that requires regular attention. Daily brushing helps prevent tangles and mats, while monthly baths and professional grooming every few months are recommended to maintain their pristine appearance.

Shih Tzus, on the other hand, have a moderate activity level. Daily walks and some active playtime indoors can keep them content. These dogs also enjoy interactive toys and games that challenge their minds.

In terms of grooming, Shih Tzus have a dense double coat that requires daily brushing to prevent matting. Regular baths and grooming sessions every 4-6 weeks are necessary to keep their coat healthy and free of tangles. Additionally, their facial hair needs daily cleaning to avoid staining and irritation.

Choosing the Right Breed

selecting the perfect dog breed

In the process of selecting the ideal breed for your lifestyle and preferences, it's essential to consider key factors that will influence your decision. When choosing between a Maltese and a Shih Tzu, it's important to assess your living situation, activity level, grooming commitment, and overall expectations for a canine companion.

Maltese dogs are known for their small size, gentle demeanor, and affectionate nature, making them excellent companions for individuals or families living in apartments or smaller homes. If you prefer a lap dog that enjoys cuddling and requires minimal exercise, the Maltese might be the perfect fit for you. However, keep in mind that their long, silky coats necessitate regular grooming to prevent matting and tangles.

On the other hand, Shih Tzus are also small in size but have a more playful and outgoing personality compared to Maltese dogs. They're well-suited for families with children and individuals who've a bit more time to dedicate to play and exercise. Shih Tzus have a distinctive double coat that requires regular brushing and grooming to maintain its health and appearance.

Consider your daily routine, living space, and the amount of time you can devote to grooming and exercise when deciding between a Maltese and a Shih Tzu. Both breeds offer unique qualities, so choose the one that aligns best with your lifestyle and preferences.


In conclusion, when deciding between a Maltese and a Shih Tzu, it ultimately comes down to your lifestyle and preferences. Both breeds are known for their affectionate nature and low shedding coats, but the Maltese may be better suited for those looking for a smaller and more portable companion.

On the other hand, the Shih Tzu may be a better fit for families with children due to their sturdy build and playful demeanor. Consider your needs and preferences carefully before making your decision.


Hey there! I've been with Shihtzuadvice.com for almost a year now, and as a pet lover with five rescued dogs and five rescued cats, I can confidently say that Shih Tzus are the ultimate companions – full of charm, loyalty, and endless love!

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